The problem was, as suspected, the 72-pin connector piece. I had tried previously two other times to bend them back in place, but no dice. This time i took extra special care to line up the pins with the connector bands and to my enjoyment it worked
I got a few NES and SNES controller port schematics and matched up the wires and pulled out my trusty soldering iron and went to town. Actually this was my first opportunity to use the soldering iron for it's intended purpose. I didn't hurt myself so and walked away in good shape. +5 points for me.
although incredibly hackish and looking disgusting, it all functions perfectly.
now all i need to do is modify the controller port to so the connection doesn't break if i pull on the controller a bit, just to be safe. After that in the near future i'll probably get around to making/modifying a real NES controller port so i can disconnect the controller. I only hardwired it together temporarily because i'm very impatient
After i tackled my NES, I decided to test out my also-recently purchased EPROM burner and get a cart prepared for "dev" status. There were, however several issues i ran into, and overall it was a big learning experience.
*The chip i ordered was labeled incorrectly in the invoice sheet. (This made burning very difficult. actually that made it just about impossible)
*The Gyromite (a Mapper 0 cart) PRG-ROM chip was extremely difficutly to get out. It was smooth sailing or all but 4 pins which were bent flush with the board's surface and globbed with lots of solder on the top and bottom.
*I was trying to insert a 32-pin chip into a 28-pin socket. It doesn't quite work like that.
All this took place in about 2 days, and I know realize that I need to order a 28-pin EPROM. The reason i had previously ordered 32-pin chips is because I had invisioned my first experiment in making a dev cart was going to be with a FF1 cart, which has CHR-RAM and 32-pin chips (of course). I think i'm going to continue making this first test on a cart i don't particularily care about (in fact, i might go as far as to say that i hate it).
all in all it was fun finally getting everything in order. and now, the obligatory glass of celebratory wine.